WASHINGTON—A coalition of education policy experts today called for states to take bolder action against schools that compel students and teachers to promote or affirm the racial bigotry found in lessons or training based in critical race theory.
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, along with Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman fellow in education, and Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy, signed a coalition letter laying out policies that state lawmakers should take up in their 2022 legislative sessions to enhance transparency of school curriculum and training, as well as combat the spread of CRT-inspired education.
“I look across the country, not just in conservative counties but also in liberal counties, and I see parents standing up and saying, ‘We’ve had enough.’ Tens of millions of Americans are dissatisfied about what’s happening in our public schools,” Roberts said.
“Parent rebellions against the indoctrination of their kids—whether it be teaching critical race theory or falsehoods about American history—have created a moment to define not just what education needs to look like but how we’re going to transform our schools,” Roberts added. “Our coalition will harness that energy and work with local leaders to implement changes that benefit students and give parents a greater role in their education.”
Heritage’s grassroots partner organization, Heritage Action for America, is using the policies outlined in the coalition letter to mobilize its more than 20,000 Sentinel activists.
“The principles laid out in this letter represent a roadmap for concerned parents and grassroots activists to use to urge their legislators to root out critical race theory,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action. “Activists nationwide are fighting for transparency, accountability, and equality in their schools, and these recommendations will equip them with the most effective tools to advocate for policies to stop racist CRT teachings.”
The letter includes specific policy steps for states to pursue, including:
- Stopping teachers or students from being compelled to affirm, believe, profess, or adhere to any idea that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Prohibiting schools from contracting for teacher professional development with providers who promote racially essentialist doctrines and practices that have been held to violate the Civil Rights Act.
- Allowing individuals to bring a private right of action against any public institution engaged in racial discrimination.
- Requiring schools to provide maximum transparency to parents and the public with comprehensive access to in-person and online school curriculum and materials.
- Aligning school board elections so that they are held at the same time as those in the state for the highest offices.
- Enacting universal education savings accounts for all K-12 students in the state so that parents can choose an education that aligns with their values.
“Legislators must listen to the voice of the voters who just spoke in past elections,” the letter noted in a nod to Virginia and New Jersey elections in which many parents voted against candidates who supported CRT-based policies and curriculums.
Signers of the letter include:
- Christopher Rufo, senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute
- Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation
- Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman fellow in education at The Heritage Foundation
- Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation
- Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America
- Matt Beienburg, director of the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy at Goldwater Institute
- Max Eden, author of Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies that Created the Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students
- Hon. Kenneth L. Marcus, Former Assistant U.S. Secretary Education for Civil Rights and Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for Liberty and Law, Scalia Law School, George Mason University
- Arthur Milikh, executive director of the Center for the American Way of Life at Claremont Institute
- Nicki Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education
- Sarah Perry, former senior counsel at U.S. Department of Education
- Inez Feltscher Stepman, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice
Read the full letter here.